Talent scouting at the Prince Claus Conservatoire takes place extramurally in youth orchestras, for example the Haydn Youth Orchestra, conducted by one of our faculty members, and in teachers’ private studios. Faculty members also teach master classes throughout Europe and function as jury members for important competitions. In this lecture we will go into the difference between musical aptitude and instrumental proficiency. We will discuss the functional demands of music performance, the biological foundations of musical aptitude and the various elements that constitute it. We will consider musical proficiency and the talent cult(ure) in the light of the historical development of music praxis and the distinction between formal and informal learning.